Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Add Water And Stir: Pat Boone: "Don't Forbid Me"

As soon as it was obvious that the youth of the US were interested in what was called "race music," and some profit could be made from it (if it was re-recorded in a properly sanitized for your protection fashion) up popped Pat Boone, a clean-cut reasonably cute lad, to do the job. He was instant mashed potatoes in comparison to anyone else (for this song, esp., Elvis but also Charles Singleton, who wrote it); again, for this song he tries as hard as he can (with his own sorta-kinda Jordanaires) to sound just like Elvis. Clearly this worked, as it was a success, but the idea of Pat kissing me (to keep my lips from freezing, you see) let alone holding me does not, so to speak, spin my propellers. That many girls did respond to his warm pleas is proof that there has always been, and always will be, a big segment of the record-buying population that likes the safe, secure and square guy over the daredevil dirt dude every time. And yet no matter how much you may enjoy instant mashed potatoes, they are soft mush compared to the real thing. I am far from done with Mr. Boone, but in the meantime I must note that the song which kept him from number one was "Young Love" by Tab Hunter - not even in the arena of cute American boys could Boone win out; and next time we meet him here, his competition won't even be American. It's 1957 now, and things are starting to accelerate.

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